The CHUV, CERN and THERYQ join forces for a world first in cancer radiotherapy

LAUSANNE, Swissand PEYNIER, France, November 25, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Center Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV) in Lausanne, Swiss, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN) and THERYQ (ALCEN Group) have signed an agreement for the world-first development of a revolutionary FLASH radiotherapy device that will use very high energy electron radiation (VHEE) to treat cancers resistant to conventional treatments. The device, based on CERN technology, will be installed at the CHUV.

This development represents a very important hope for increasing the effectiveness of radiotherapy, for the greater benefit of patients. By reducing irradiation to milliseconds, FLASH radiation therapy significantly reduces side effects while increasing efficacy on tumors.

The program benefits from the prior financial support of the ISREC Foundation, in partnership with the Biltema Foundation which, through an exclusive donation of CHF 25.8 millionmakes this project possible.

The three-party agreement covers collaboration for the development, planning, regulatory compliance and construction of the world’s first radiotherapy device using the FLASH technique with very high energy electrons. THERYQ, part of ALCEN’s Healthcare division, will produce this unique device that uses a compact linear accelerator based on CERN technology. A special bunker will be built at the CHUV to accommodate this technology.

The system should be operational within two years. The first clinical trials are planned for 2025.

An advance donation of 25.8 million Swiss francs

This major development is part of the continuation of an innovative clinical transfer program in FLASH radiotherapy initiated in 2020 between CERN and CHUV. The current phase is made possible by prior funding from the ISREC Foundation, which announced in June 2021 that he would support the project with CHF 25.8 million thanks to a donation from the Biltema Foundation. The ISREC and Biltema foundations also supported the first phases of the FLASH program with an initial contribution of CHF 1 million.

The CHUV, a pioneer in FLASH radiotherapy

Radiation therapy is one of the main forms of cancer treatment, along with chemotherapy, surgery and immunotherapy. Currently, a third of cancers are resistant to conventional radiotherapy. Research focuses on the development of more effective radiotherapy that is better tolerated by patients.

It is in this context that the head of the Radiation Oncology Department at the CHUV, Professor John Bourhis and his team pioneered the method called FLASH, which has produced impressive results in preclinical animal studies. With a view to clinical transfer, a pilot project launched in 2020 at the CHUV saw the installation of a first prototype called FLASHKNiFE, manufactured by THERYQ, which allows FLASH treatment of tumors up to 3 cm deep.

Today’s milestone represents an important step forward. By integrating the innovative compact linear accelerator technology developed by CERN, the FLASHDEEP tool produced by THERYQ will use very high energy electron beams (VHEE) of 100 to 200 MeV, 10 to 20 times more powerful than those of FLASHKNiFE. This additional power will allow FLASH treatment of all types of cancers up to a depth of 20 cm.

CERN, from basic research to breakthrough technologies

CERN has taken up the challenge of producing a high dose of very high-energy electrons in less than 100 milliseconds, necessary for FLASH radiotherapy, by designing a unique accelerator based on CLIC (Compact Linear Collider) technology. It will accelerate electrons to treat tumors up to 20cm deep and will be compact enough to fit in a typical hospital campus.

VHEE FLASH technology has several advantages. High-energy electrons can be focused and oriented in ways nearly impossible with X-rays, and radiotherapy devices based on CERN’s electron accelerator technology will be significantly more compact and less expensive than current proton therapy facilities. .

THERYQ, leader in medical devices dedicated to FLASH radiotherapy

THERYQ, a spin-off of PMB-ALCEN, is an innovative medical technology company specializing in the design and production of radiotherapy devices integrating linear accelerators.

From the first studies in 2013 on the FLASH effect to the first patient with skin cancer successfully treated in 2019, THERYQ has supported the development of FLASH therapy, in particular through a long-standing partnership with the CHUV. The company has developed FLASHKNiFE, for external or intraoperative FLASH radiotherapy (10 MeV), treating superficial or shallow tumors (up to 3 cm).

FLASHDEEP, designed in collaboration with CHUV and CERN and produced by THERYQ, will be the first device capable of treating any type of solid tumor up to a depth of 20 cm thanks to VHEE FLASH technology. This device has the potential to expand the use of radiation therapy in oncology and unlock new treatments for cancer patients, as well as reduce treatment costs.

After delivering the first unit to CHUV, THERYQ will include FLASHDEEP in its own product line.

Prof. Philippe EckertCEO of CHUV, said: As a university hospital, the CHUV is fully committed to research. FLASH therapy embodies the spirit of innovation that drives us in this area. Desiring to offer the most effective techniques to patients, we have teamed up with a world-class research center and a cutting-edge industrial partner to solve a medical, physical and technical problem and find innovative solutions to fight cancer. .”

Prof. John Bourhishead of the radio-oncology department at CHUV, said: “The FLASH technology represents real hope for increasing the potential for curing cancers by radiotherapy, and the current stage will allow the first crucial clinical developments in this field.

Mike Lamont, CERN Director for Accelerators and Technology, said: “At CERN, part of our mission is knowledge transfer and we are actively working to find applications of our advances outside the field of particle physics for the benefit of society as a whole. This collaboration shows how technologies and CERN’s expertise combined with strong partnerships with experts in other fields can really make an impact.”

Walter Wunschproject leader at CERN, said: “A clinical FLASH facility has been developed, with which large deep tumors are treated using high-energy electrons. The facility is based on the accelerator technology developed for CLIC (Compact Linear Collider) to create a high-performance, compact installation that can easily fit into a typical hospital campus”.

Ludovic Le MeunierCEO of THERYQ, said: “THERYQ is honored to bring its expertise and agility to this project, alongside the CHUV and CERN. FLASHDEEP marks a therapeutic revolution, with the potential to significantly increase the number of patients living longer and without cancer.”

Prof. Pierre-Marie GlauserPresident, ISREC Foundation, added: “The ISREC Foundation is pleased to contribute to the development of FLASH technology since 2016. This innovative and interdisciplinary project bringing together biologists, physicists and doctors in close collaboration is perfectly in line with the Foundation’s objectives of supporting research in oncology. translational. Today, we are thrilled to see the achievement of this milestone that will take the FLASH program to a new level of effectiveness and implementation.”

About CHUV:

The CHUV is one of five Swiss university hospitals, along with the hospitals of Geneva, Bern, Basel and Zürich. It pursues three fundamental missions entrusted by the public authorities: care, education and research. In 2021, thanks to its 12,228 employees, the CHUV received 51,205 hospitalized patients for more than 500,374 days of hospitalization. It treated 80,261 emergencies, carried out 1,451,300 outpatient consultations and welcomed 3,177 births. Its annual budget is CHF 1.832 billion. In order to ensure the training of doctors, the CHUV is closely linked to the Faculty of Biology and Medicine of the University of Lausanne. It also collaborates with other university institutions in the Lake Geneva region (EPFL, ISREC, Ludwig Institute, University of Geneva), the University Hospitals of Genevaas well as with other hospitals, establishments or health institutions, such as the Federation of Vaud Hospitals and the Vaud Medicine Society.

Since 2019, the CHUV has been ranked among the best hospitals in the world by Newsweek magazine.

About CERN:

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s leading particle physics laboratories. The Organization is located on the Franco-Swiss border, with its headquarters in Geneva. Its member states are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, RomaniaSerbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Swiss and the UK. Cyprus, Estonia and Slovenia are Associate Member States in the pre-stage to Membership. Croatia, India, Latvia, Lithuania, PakistanTurkey and Ukraine are Associate Member States. Japan and The United States of America currently have observer status, as do the European Union and UNESCO. The observer status of the Russian Federation and JINR is suspended in accordance with the resolutions of the CERN Council of March 8, 2022 and March 25, 2022respectively.


Located south of France and spin-off of PMB-ALCEN, THERYQ is an innovative medical technology company specializing in particle accelerators and radiotherapy systems. The company masters and provides essential expertise in project management, R&D, industrialization and manufacturing. THERYQ is part of the Health branch of ALCEN.;;

Media contact: Fatine Slaoui, [email protected]+33 4 42 53 13 13

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SOURCE PMB-Alcen; CERN; Vaud University Hospital Center (CHUV)

The CHUV, CERN and THERYQ join forces for a world first in cancer radiotherapy

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